Freelancers have been sold a dream.
A dream of sitting in coffee shops, gazing forlornly out of the window and writing insightful diary pieces for £50 a word. Yes, clearly I’ve watched too much Sex and the City.
Naturally, my first experience of coffee shop freelancing was nothing quite so idyllic.
It was a sunny afternoon in the City of London and I had an hour to kill before a meeting and some emails to attend to.
Luckily, you’re never more than about 50 feet away from a Pret a Manger in London, so I headed to the nearest outlet and settled down with a bottle of water, having already reached my coffee quota for the day. Lovely.
But this is where it all falls apart. Because the Pret branch did not have wi-fi.
I didn’t know there was anywhere left in the country that didn’t have wi-fi.
By now, of course, I’d already bought a drink so I was sort of stuck.
So in order to send off the couple of articles I needed to file, I had to hotspot off of my phone.
This sent me into a panic that with all the zillions of tabs I leave open in my browser I would immediately sap an entire month’s worth of mobile phone data. So, heart pounding, I closed everything down, got the emails drafted and ready to go and did some rapid fire sending the moment I was connected to the internet on my phone.
Emails sent, all that stress left me badly needing a wee.
But I wasn’t going to leave my lovely new laptop and all of my belongings to fend for themselves while I nip to the toilet – I’m just not the trusting sort.
Equally, I wasn’t about to risk losing my prime spot – even if it didn’t have wi-fi – by taking all of my stuff with me.
So, I did the only thing I could do, crossed my legs and held on until it was time for the meeting.
Tips on clean coffee places with reliable internet very welcome.
Other places it’s really hard to work
Trains – I always see people beavering away on the trains and am in awe. The balancing of the laptop, the fear of people like me reading personal documents over your shoulder, the angry commuters. It’s too risky.
Fancy hotels – comfy chairs, non-existent internet connections.
Outside – anyone who thinks all the freelancers are in the garden have obviously never tried typing on a laptop in glaring sunshine.
And my new favourite place
Wetherspoon – Cheap drinks, cracking internet, and surprisingly quiet in the day. The only downside is having to resist the extensive craft beer menu.